What is a Saison Style Beer? ( FAQs Answered )
Saison beers are pale ales that are dry, highly carbonated, light in body, and made with layers of fruit and spice flavoring. Alongside IPAs, any professional brewer worth his or her salt has a high-quality Saison ready in their arsenal. But what are saison beers, really? And how are they made?
In today’s blog, Lost Signal Brewing discusses what saison beer is and how we create our own spin on this classic brew.
What does “Saison Beer” Mean?
Saison is French for “season.” But due to modernization, saison beers aren’t just brewed seasonally anymore, but year-round. Depending on the brewer’s taste, the flavor can vary quite a bit.
History of Saison Beer
Yes. You might have guessed it. ‘Saison,’ being a French word, speaks pretty plainly as to where the beer originated from. This farmhouse ale started in the early 19th century within the French-speaking city of Liège, Belgium, a municipality of Wallonia, located near the border of the Netherlands.
It started as a farmhouse pastoral ale, something with low ABV for farmers to drink during the hot summer months. Back in the early 19th century, saison was brewed by professional brewers to be a less perishable version of the centuries-old spelt beer (which dates all the way back to the Bronze Age).
Traditionally saisons had a meager alcohol volume. However…today, brewers often craft Saisons to really pack a punch (from 6.5 to well over 10% ABV).
How are Saison Beers Made?
High fermentation temperatures and hand-picked yeast strains give saisons their unique flavor. To get the bubbly, light consistency, carbonation levels for the beer, once bottled, should be between 3.0-4.0 vols CO2.
Any variety of hops will do the trick if used in balanced moderation. Fruity, herbal, or floral hops accentuate the spicy saison yeast.
Most of them are brewed with a hefty amount of pilsner malt — light and soft enough to allow for spice and citrus flavors to express themselves nicely. Others include rye and wheat malts.
Fermentation methods vary from brewer to brewer. Many American brewers have included lactobacillus (a yeast that produces lactic acid, giving an acidic and sour taste) and Brettanomyces (a yeast that produces alcohol) into their fermentation process.
Most saison beers are bottle conditioned. That means that the beer is fermented with a small amount of yeast and sugar added into the bottle. It is then stored for 2-4 weeks at a time before serving (but that depends on the brewer’s preference).
Styles of Saison Beers
This style of beer can vary greatly depending on what the brewer wishes to create with his own unique blend of malts, spices, and citrus flavors. Here’s an example. The styles of saison beers can include Saison Indian Pale Ales — which is quite common, namely because the brewing process is just so very similar.
Or a saison might be brewed into a more sour-tasting beer, like a traditional Belgium Lambic. If the beer is wild fermented, it gets called a “funky saison.”
There’s a wide range of spices and citrus flavors used in Saison Beers to give them a distinct flavor. Some of these include:
Citrus fruit zest
The use of spices balances the malty aroma of the beer, giving it a well-rounded flavor when it’s all said and done.
What Color is a Saison Beer?
The type of malt used will determine the color of the saison. A darker malt will result in a reddish amber hue, whereas a pilsner or pale malt will give it a golden, amber hue. Traditionally, the French-speaking Belgium brewers made their saisons with a light golden hue.
What Does a Saison Taste Like?
Any high-quality saison is going to have these four distinct elements that comprise its unforgettable flavor:
It goes without saying that the combination of fruity, tangy yeast flavors with a dry, wheat-like finish make this a must-have beer to try out when you first visit a local brewery! Each brewery has its own take on this classic ale. And that includes us!
Some of the Most Popular Saison Beer Brands Include:
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
Goose Island Sofie
Boulevard Tank 7
What does Saison Beer Pair With?
If you’re thinking of grabbing a bite to eat while sipping on your next order of Saison beer, we’ll have you know that this spicy, tangy flavor accentuates saucy barbecue ribs and sandwiches perfectly. Frankly, any hot and peppery dish (like our spicy bbq nachos) becomes a match made in heaven with a saison beer.
Tropical Saison: Our Own Unique Spin
Among our numerous seasonal craft beer brews, we offer a tropical-flavored saison. This is Lost Signal Brewing’s personal take on this traditional fruity, spicy, and well-carbonated beverage.
This refreshing saison is perfect for the warmer weather as we gear up for summer.
It’s made with a traditional base, a large amount of wheat, euro pilsner malts, and saison yeast. But it’s hopped with 15lbs of American & Australian hops, giving it a varied and sophisticated flavor.
Grab the Best Beer n’ BBQ Around at Lost Signal
Come by our bar in downtown Springfield, Missouri and get a taste of our delicious craft beers, from saisons to pilsners or lagers — we’ve got the works. Don’t forget to pair it with some of the most mouth-watering bbq ribs on the planet. Contact us at 417-869-4755 or send us an email at email@example.com.